No price increases at start of new quarter / Demand remains weak / Producers utilise lull for maintenance work / Delivery delays until start of 2021
As anticipated, producers of engineering thermoplastics were unable to use the start of the new quarter to implement price increases. They had to be content with simply carrying prices over for all types and grades, as they did last month. This is likely to be the case in the coming months as well, since a revival in demand is not in sight. Only with PC/ABS blends and POM natural could there be moderate rises – around 6% for PC/ABS blends and 10% for POM natural – because of the current low price level. The “Plastixx TT” polymer price index nevertheless pointing slightly up (see graph) can be attributed to ABS, which is not reported on here.
One producer has reacted to the consistently low demand by announcing a measure due to take effect next year: The company said it would finally push through higher PMMA prices from 1 January 2021, thereby passing on the higher costs arising from the procurement of MMA, at least in the medium term. On the other hand, this perhaps removes any scope for negotiating price increases in Q4.
The supply situation for certain products is growing more acute, for example, for PA 6, where some plants are running at higher capacity utilisation while others are operating with limited output. Some producers also face the problem of trained staff laid off due to the Covid-19 crisis who cannot be adequately replaced in the short term.
Overall, producers are reacting differently to the slump in demand. Some are performing maintenance turnarounds, which include one at a key POM production plant. This means that the overall tendency is for longer delivery times. Those who failed to order PC/ABS blends in good time, for example, must reckon on waiting until the new year for a delivery. The situation is similar for transparent and glass fibre-reinforced PC.